Rating : 1.5 / 5 stars
What’s it about?
Ghost in the Shell is a science fiction film adapted from a Japanese anime film by the same name starring Scarlett Johansson and directed by Rupert Sanders.
Set in a future where technology has crept into every aspect of human life including human body enhancements, this film follows Major, a law enforcement operative from Section 9, who has a human brain and a cybernetic body. With her memories wiped to make her compliant and be the perfect weapon, she begins to experience hallucinations from a past life that she does not remember, as her human brain begins to reject her cyber enhanced body. This leads her down a path where she must investigate who she is and what happened to her before she became a cyborg. What she uncovers during this investigation is what forms the rest of the film.
The art design is amazing in this film. The streets and the buildings of this future city is brought to life with all its seediness and sleaze and is absolutely gorgeous to look at. VFX of the robots and various other tech on display is excellent.
The main problem with the film is it’s screenplay. It is so slow that it does not let the viewer invest in the film at all. The plot unfolds lazily and this sucks the enjoyment out of any intrigue or sci-fi elements that the film is exploring. As far as story is concerned, there is not enough to fill up an entire film, which in turn makes most of the first half seem pointless even though the plot is being set up. There are many characters in this film who seem interesting, but are not given much character development or screen-time. All this put together makes the viewer feel a sense of detachment from the proceedings.
The various themes such as human dependence on technology, and the freedom to make ones own life decisions, among others, that were effectively brought out in the animated film are lost in this live action version. Even the action, barring a couple of scenes, feel overdrawn and underwhelming.
This film is a Scarlett Johansson vehicle and she gives a great performance as Major. While she brings a sense of ruthlessness like a machine in the action scenes, she also brings out the inner struggle and vulnerability of a person who is grappling with identity crisis very well in the more dramatic scenes. The rest of the cast does not have much of screen-time and feel wasted in their respective roles.
A disappointing adaptation of a cult sci-fi property, this film has nothing to offer other than pretty visuals.